By Meridith Orr, Program Executive
Studies of women and girls’ participation in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) education and careers is making headlines. Recently a story on National Public Radio’s Morning Edition explored how having so few women enrolled in STEM majors in college actually creates fewer opportunities for young women to feel confident in pursuing a STEM-related career.
The reason? A study at the University of Massachusetts – Amherst found that women who participate in STEM groups alongside other women feel more confident, energized and interested in pursuing a STEM career than in settings when they are the only woman in a group or in the minority.
In “Generation STEM: What Girls Say about Science, Technology, Engineering and Math,” the Girl Scout Research Institute found that “girls who are interested in STEM are high achievers who have supportive adult networks and are exposed to STEM fields.” The report also found that many girls want to make a difference in the world and want to help people, yet they might not consider careers that use science and technology with the potential to change the way things are done, leading to change that helps people or improves the world.
More education is needed to help girls see that STEM careers can enable them to achieve their goals to help and serve. That’s where Girl Scouts can help! In a safe, all-girl setting, Girl Scouts of all ages have an ideal space in which to try science and engineering activities that they might not otherwise have attempted. Tips written especially for girls who may be thinking about STEM can be found here on our national web site.
Whether you’re a STEM professional or not, you, our amazing volunteers, can make all the difference for our girls! Encourage girls to pursue thought-provoking, educational opportunities such as our own Summer Science Camp, our TechnoQuest career mentoring days, and hands-on exploration events at museums, robotics and other activities leading to STEM-related badges. Simply with your encouragement, you can plant the seeds to grow the next generation of STEM women professionals! To learn more about opportunities we offer, visit the Events Calendar on our website.